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Mat Latos stepped up yet again when Cueto went down.
Johnny Cueto (3 GS, 17.1 IP, 1-0, 2.60 ERA, .194 BAA)
Mat Latos (7 GS, 44.1 IP, 3-0, 2.23 ERA, .247 BAA)
Bronson Arroyo (7 GS, 46 IP, 2-4, 4.30 ERA, .261 BAA)
Homer Bailey (7 GS, 43.1 IP, 1-3, 3.83 ERA, .245 BAA)
Mike Leake (7 GS, 41.2 IP, 2-2, 4.32 ERA, .303 BAA)
Tony Cingrani (4 GS, 24 IP, 2-0, 2.63 ERA, .179 BAA)
When Johnny Cueto went on the disabled list early in the season, Cincinnati fans were left wondering what would happen to the team. Tony Cingrani has put those worries to rest.
The sensational rookie has been better than expected. He struck out 28 batters and allowed a total of three runs in 18 innings in his first three starts. He made two mistakes in his last start, but he has been very impressive.
Without Cueto, the Reds needed someone to step up as their ace. Mat Latos has answered the call and then some. He started the year with six straight quality starts and threw 21.2 consecutive shutout innings. Poor outfield defense in his final inning of work snapped both of those streaks.
Despite his efforts, Latos entered his fifth start without a win. He has won three straight starts and has helped the Reds stay near the top of the division.
Homer Bailey has been sensational except for four innings this season. He has allowed 13 runs in those four innings, but he has allowed only five runs in the rest of his 38.2 innings in 2013. The right-hander has turned into a stud pitcher and will only get better as he goes on.
Veteran Bronson Arroyo has been inconsistent this season, but he will still give the team six innings in his starts. When he's on, the Reds will be able to pull off more sweeps.
For Reds fans wanting Aroldis Chapman in the rotation over Mike Leake, it's time to own up. Leake has done fairly well as the No. 5 pitcher, especially lately. The 25-year-old has allowed more than two runs only twice in his last five starts.
Cingrani has given the Reds the luxury of taking their time with Cueto. Once the ace returns, the team will have to decide if Leake gets to keep his spot or if Cingrani has done enough to stay in the majors.
Just like last season, the Reds are tied with the Philadelphia Phillies for most innings thrown by the rotation. Cincinnati ranks third in the majors in ERA, sixth in strikeouts and ninth in WHIP. The starters are dealing right now.
A big reason why they rank ahead of the Cubs is the depth of the rotation and the ability to sustain the success. Last season, the Reds showed how good their starting pitching can be, so they are more likely to keep up the great pitching, especially if Cingrani keeps pitching like this.